Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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PENNY, n. Also pennie, †peny; panny. Pl. pennies; pence, pince (Abd. 1914 J. Leatham Daavit 39). Sc. forms and usages:

1. A Scottish coin, the twelfth part of a shilling, orig. equivalent to the Eng. penny but by the 18th c. devalued to one twelfth of it. As a monetary unit it was differentiated after the Union from the British penny, esp. after 1750, by being called penny Scots, q.v. As a coin the penny was issued in silver by David I and his successors, billon was substituted by James I and continued till Mary. The only copper pennies of Scottish coinage were issued by James VI. The use of pennies as a collective survived later in Sc. than in Eng. Sc. 1710  Nairne Peerage Evid. (1873) 45:
Lands to be holden of us . . . in free blench for payment of two pennies Scots money.
Sc. 1757  Session Papers, Magistrates Montrose v. Scot (1 March) 3:
The former Rates [for a ferry] were no longer capable of being paid, particularly the four Pennies Scots, for a foot Passenger, that species of Coin called two Pennies Scots, having gone totally in disuse.
Sc. 1787  J. Beattie Scoticisms 68:
A Scots peny is one twelfth of an English penny therefore three Scots half penies = one eighth of a penny stg.
Sc. 1819  Scott Bride of Lamm. xiii.:
Putting a [British] penny into his hand, he said, “Here is twal pennies, my man.”

2. Money in general, a sum of money, cash. Phr. a bonnie, braw or gey penny, “a pretty penny,” a considerable sum of money. Gen.Sc. Sc. 1721  J. Kelly Proverbs 29:
A drunken Wife will get the drunken Penny [i.e. always find money for drink].
Ayr. 1792  Burns What can a Young Lassie i.:
Bad luck on the pennie that tempted my minnie To sell her poor Jenny for siller an' lan'!
Kcb. 1814  W. Nicholson Tales 25:
A wylie, spruce, an' nipping blade, Wha made the penny ay his trade.
Sc. 1824  Lockhart Adam Blair ix.:
I'se warrant Annie Muir will hae a braw little penny to her tocher.
s.Sc. 1859  J. Watson Bards 171:
Her tocher was a trifle sma', A hard-earned weel-saved pennie O.
Mry. 1865  W. H. Tester Poems 127:
Feint-a-flea, man, car'd we, man, As lang's we drew the penny.
Ags. 1882  Brechin Advertiser (8 Aug.):
It's brocht them in a gey penny ilka year.
ne.Sc. 1884  D. Grant Lays 199:
In the brak o' a bank His penny an' Effie's thegither Were equally swallowed an' sank.
Sc. 1897  W. Beatty Secretar xi.:
She wus making a bonnie penny here.
Abd. 1965  :
He'll hae tae leave the place 'cause he hasna the penny tae buy't. . . . That'll cost ye a bonnie penny.

3. As a measure of land-division. See Pennyland. Rs. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 VI. 249:
The land is divided into oxen-gates, pennies, and farthings . . . every penny of land . . . ought to maintain 8 milch cows.

4. Used attrib. in many combs., such as penny-bake, penny-rent, etc., for which see second element. For combs. such as lee-penny, luck-penny not mentioned below, see s.v. first element. Special combs. and phrs.: (1) penny boo, a large spinning-top (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 124), a Bummer. See also Boo, v.1; †(2) penny book(ie), the primer used by a child on first going to school, orig. costing a penny (Abd., Lth. 1880), hence the beginners, class at school. Classes were referred to as “the tippeny”, “the fourpenny”, etc. according to the price of the reading book used in the class; (3) penny booth, a stall or sideshow at a fair; (4) penny bowl, a small cheap dish or bowl, in phr. to hae e'en like penny bowls, to have a startled, wide-eyed expression, to be “saucer-eyed” (Ork., Ags., Gall. 1965); (5) penny-breid, a loaf sold for a penny (Sc. 1887 Jam.); (6) penny bridal, -brydal, = (39) below (Sc. 1808 Jam.); (7) penny-brown, an epithet applied in ballads to a brown horse, a formation phs. based on Eng. †penny-white, of a woman considered attractive because of her wealth rather than her looks, the orig. significance of penny passing later into a mere intensive or stock usage. Cf. (16) below; ‡(8) penny-buff, a child's first school reading book, so-called because of its buff cover (Bnff., Abd., Ayr. 1965). Cf. (2) above and phr. as simple as A, B, Buff, s.v. Buff, n.3, 2. and Suppl.; hence in 1954 quot. to be in the penny buff, to be in the baby class at school; (9) penny chap, a game at dominoes in which a penny forfeit is payed when one chaps or knocks to indicate inability to play a turn (Kcd., Ags., wm.Sc., Slk. 1965). See also Chap, v., 1. (5); (10) penny chaw, a sweet, specif. a large piece of flavoured toffee, sold for a penny (Ags. 1965); (11) penny dirker, id. (Id.); (12) penny dog, a dog that follows constantly at his master's heels (Sc. 1825 Jam.); fig. of human beings: a sycophant, toady. Phs. a corruption of Pirrie-dog, q.v.; (13) penny fee, -†fie, cash wages, earnings, “pay” (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson). Now only poet. See also Fee, n.1 Also loosely, money, cash in general; (14) penny frien(d), one whose friendship is not disinterested, a toady, sycophant, “fair-weather friend” (Cld. 1825 Jam.); (15) penny geggie, see Geggie; (16) penny-gray, adj., applied to a grey horse. Only in ballads. See (7) above; †(17) penny herioter, a small ball made of cork, padded with cloth and covered with leather or sheepskin, made by the boys of Heriot's Hospital, Edinburgh, for the ball game played on June Day; (18) penny joe, see Jo; (19) pennyland. See sep. article; (20) penny leddie, -y, “a penny breakfast roll, round, not oval” (Fif. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 241), a Bap; †(21) penny-mail, -meall, a money payment of rent, rent in cash. See Mail, n.1; ‡(22) penny marriage, see (39) below, and cf. (6) above; †(23) penny-man, a member of the crew of a fishing-boat (see quot.); (24) penny money, (i) ready cash, money in hand; (ii) a coin handed over as a symbol or token when property is changing hands (see quots.). For the omission of of, see O, prep., 1. (5) (i); †(25) penny note, a counterfeit bank-note of the face value of a penny, palmed off by sharpers as a pound-note; †(26) penny o' money!, the call of the Shetland guisers. Cf. (24); †(27) penny-pap, a penny biscuit (Lnk. 1880 Jam.). See Bap; (28) penny-pay wedding, see (39) and cf. (6) and (22) above; (29) penny pig, pence-, an earthenware money-box (Ork., ne.Sc., Ags., Lth., s.Sc. 1965). See Pig; (30) penny-rattler, a shop selling small cheap wares costing only a few pence (Bnff., Abd. 1965). See quot. and Rattle; †(31) penny reel, a public dance or “hop” at which a penny is paid each time a dancer takes the floor; specif., one particular reel popular at such gatherings. Hence penny-reel-house, a building where penny reels were held; (32) penny-she-kyles, a traditional game, a variant of skittles, played annually in Kirkcaldy. See Kyle, n.2, v., II.; (33) penny siller, money, fortune (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Also pennie o' siller (Abd. 1826 D. Anderson Poems 60). Cf. (24) (i); (34) pennystane, a round flat stone used as a quoit, the game of quoits (w.Sc. 1741 A. M'Donald Galick Vocab. 105; Sc. 1808 Jam.). Hence penny-stane cast, the distance to which a pennystane can be thrown, a short distance, “a stone's throw”; ¶(35) penny-stipen(d), salary, fee, used rather contemptuously; (36) penny-tenny, the hard ball used in the game of rounders. See also Tenny; ‡(37) penny-thing, a fancy cake or biscuit costing a penny, a high price at the date of the quots. (Ags., Lth., wm.Sc. 1965); (38) penny-wabble, a thin weak ale (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 124; Bnff., Abd. 1965), formerly sold at a penny a bottle. See quot. under (30); ‡(39) penny-wedding, a wedding at which the guests contributed a small sum of money or occas. food and drink for their own entertainment, any surplus being presented to the young couple as a gift (Cai., Kcb. 1965). See also (6), (22) (28) above; ‡(40) penny-¶whaup, -wheep, -whip, = (38); (41) penny widdie, see Pin, v.1, 1. (1) (iii); (42) penny-winner, one who makes money in a small parsimonious way; (43) penny(s)worth, -wirt, pennert, (i), lit., that which can be bought for a penny, a small amount, a little. Used fig., of the hair: to hang in pennysworths, to droop in elf-locks or lank wisps (Kcb. 1965); (ii) as in Eng., obsol. or obs., a bargain, value for money. Phr. to get (one's) (flesh) penny(s)worths (out) o' (someone), to revenge oneself on (someone), “pay out”, get one's own back on, get the better of, to thrash (Ork., Ags., wm., sm. and s.Sc. 1965); to get the last farthing out of (Sh. 1965); (44) to wantpence o' the shilling, to be slightly defective mentally, not quite “all there”, to have a Want, q.v. See Shillin. (2) Lnk. 1928  H. Lauder Roamin' 28:
“The penny bookie” — the first primer of every Scottish child.
(3) Ayr. 1912  D. M'Naught Kilmaurs 248:
The fairs gradually dwindled under the new order of things, till they ceased altogether about ten years ago, though a straggling penny booth, “Waterloo Fly”, or nut-barrow still marks the date by putting in an appearance on its own account.
(4) Ayr. 1890  J. Service Notandums 119:
She stude for a meenont wi' een like penny bowls and fell skreighin' in a fit.
(6) Abd. 1701  R. Dinnie Birse (1865) 143:
The presbytries act against pypers and abuses committed at pennie bridals, late-waks, and infares.
Rxb. 1703  J. Wilson Hawick (1858) 45:
John Hart being cited to compear before the session for making a pennybryddall at his daughter Christian's marriage.
Bnff. 1704  W. Cramond Keith Records 29:
Sir James: Their communion is lyke a penny brydell, their preaching lyke a stage play. Crechie: It cannot be compared to a penny brydell, they want the lawing.
Rxb. 1740  Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. (1913) 51:
Probably like his brother pipers in other burghs he was the recipient of “the halffe of the benefite of all heid or penny brythellis within this burghe whairin the ffidler shall be imployed.”
ne.Sc. 1881  W. Gregor Folk-Lore 93:
The feast was at times paid for by each guest, and when such was done it was called a penny wedding or penny bridal.
(7) Abd. a.1829  Hugh Spencer's Feats in
Child Ballads No. 158. C. x.:
The nexten steed that he drew out, He was the penny-brown.
(8) Lnk. 1954  R. Jenkins Thistle and Grail xv.:
He was in the penny-buff . . . when I was in the fourth standard.
(9) Lnl. 1949  J. Drummond Behind Dark Shutters iv.:
He called to the boys playing “penny chap” in the back room. . . . They stopped their dominoes for a moment.
(12) Sc. 1706  J. Watson Choice Coll. i. 11:
He haunts me like a penny-dog.
Sc. 1737  Court of Session Garland (1871) 25:
The one could cause the other to trot to him like a penny-dog, when he pleased.
Dmf. 1826  H. Duncan W. Douglas I. iii.:
The unhallowed pennydogs o' the prelates . . . they wad hae the heart's bluid of a, that winna submit to their perjured ministry.
Sh. 1899  Shetland News (11 Nov.):
Foo mony vaiges is doo gaein ta hae me rinnin' laek a penny dog?
(13) Ayr. 1786  Burns Cotter's Sat. Night iv.:
Their eldest hope, their Jenny, woman-grown, . . . Comes hame, perhaps, to shew a braw new gown, Or deposite her sair-won penny-fee.
Sc. a.1800  Earl Brand in
Child Ballads No. 7. A. x.:
We'll gie him a penny-fie an let him gae, An then he'll carry nae tiddings away.
Fif. 1812  W. Tennant Anster Fair 42:
No paltry vagrant piper-carle is he, . . . Who, having stroll'd all day for penny-fee, Couches at night with oxen in the byre.
Sc. 1818  Scott Rob Roy xxiv.:
A puir lad like himsell . . . that had nae hauding but his penny-fee.
Ags. 1826  R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 139:
Far are ye gain? — To Killiemuir! Faare never ane wiel fure, But for his ane penny fee.
Rnf. 1870  J. Nicholson Idylls 11:
O Leddy! tak' ye back my arles, an keep the penny fee.
Abd. 1925  R. L. Cassie Gangrel Muse 16:
Sic gowden days for young an' aul' 'At win their penny-fee!
(16) Abd. a.1829  Child Ballads (1956) III. 281:
The firsten steed that he drew out He was the penny-gray.
(17) Edb. 1821  Blackwood's Mag. (Aug.) 36:
Playing at the ba' is also a favourite game with the boys of Edinburgh, and “penny Herioters” were at one time very celebrated. These balls were manufactured by the boys of George Heriot's Hospital, and, from this circumstance, got the name of “Herioters”.
(20) Sc. 1827  C. I. Johnstone Eliz. de Bruce I. iii.:
The wheaten flour devices of penny-leddies, baps and luggit-rows.
(21) Fif. 1709  E. Henderson Ann. Dunfermline (1879) 383:
The great trouble and great expense the magistrates and thesaurer are at in yearly collecting the penny mealls and annualls payable yearly to the town out of the burgage lands.
(22) Ags. 1894  J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) viii.:
I'll never forget that nicht. It wus at a penny-marriage up-by at Back Boath.
(23) Arg. 1785  J. Anderson Acct. Hebrides 293:
It [the profit of a fishing-boat] was then divided into eleven shares, two of which went to the owner of the boat for his share, and the other nine shares were divided among the pennymen, as they were then called, equally. These pennymen finding each his own hooks and lines, and other fishing apparatus, as well as his provisions, without encroaching on the boat's share.
(24) (i) Sc. 1758  Session Papers, Yuill v. Yuill (29 Nov.) 2:
When he had gathered a penny money by his hard labour.
Sc. 1824  Scott St. Ronan's W. x.:
I was stressed for the penny money.
(ii) Sc. 1754  Erskine Principles ii. iii. § 17:
The symbols, by which the delivery of possession is expressed, are, for lands, earth and stone; for rights of annual rent payable forth of land, it is also earth and stone, with the addition of a penny money.
(25) Edb. 1772  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 91:
A scaw'd bit o' a penny note That lost a score o' shillins To her that day.
Sc. 1774  Caled. Mercury (22 Jan.):
The stale trick of dropping a penny note on the street, allowing an ignorant person to pick it up, and then insisting for the half of the value, alledging it to be a twenty shillings note.
(26) Sh. 1898  W. F. Clark Northern Gleams 152:
When the music ceased, they once more raised the guiser's cry of Penny-o'-money! and sure enough a bright threepenny piece clinked merrily into their cannister; while two substantial brünnies found their way into the skuddler's bag.
(28) Ayr. 1788  Burns Letters (Ferguson) No. 247:
Though she should never have . . . danced in a brighter Assembly than a penny-pay Wedding.
(29) Sc. 1827  Scott Journal (24 Feb.):
Your penny-pig collections don't succeed.
Sc. 1828  Blackwood's Mag. (Sept.) 280:
Laying up his penny a-week pocket money in a penny-pig.
(30) Abd. 1955  Buchan Observer (27 Sept.):
A few “oot-rooms” were occupied by old women, who sold loaves, potted-head, biscuits and “penny-wabble,” a very mild ale. Those modest establishments were known as “penny-rattlers.”
(31) Gsw. 1819  Edb. Ev. Courant (29 Nov.):
At night the penny reel houses were pretty well frequented, and the country people danced, and drank, and sung, and passed the time with their usual hilarity.
wm.Sc. 1868  Laird of Logan 312:
A gush of pleesant remembrances conneckit with the scenes of early life, whan I mysell figured at “penny reels, bottlings”, and “washing of aprons.”
Ayr. 1890  J. Service Notandums 122:
They had been haein' penny reels there yestreen.
Sc. 1964  J. & T. Flett Trad. Dancing 34:
At one time in the Borders . . . the dancers were charged a penny or twopence for each dance that they took part in . . . At the hiring fairs at Duns and Earlston, dances run on this system were known as “Penny Reels”, and they went out of vogue about 1900. “Penny Reels” were also held at the annual feeing fair at Kilmarnock in Ayrshire.
(32) Fif. 1929  :
At Kirkcaldy was revived recently, after a lapse of 20 years, the old game of “penny-she-kyles”. The game consists in rolling a cannon ball into three holes. “Penny-she-kyles” is believed to have been one of the games played of old by the garrison and retainers of the castle.
(33) Sc. a.1787  Sc. Musical Museum No. 440:
Be a lassie e'er sae fair, An she want the pennie siller; A flie may fell her in the air, Before a man be even till her.
Gall. 1796  J. Lauderdale Poems 90:
Ony ane was welcome till her, If she cou'd get the penny siller.
Sc. 1822  Scott Pirate xxx.:
Sister Babie, who fears neither dog nor devil, when there is in question the little penny siller.
Rnf. 1835  D. Webster Rhymes 97:
Donald looked o'er them a' [her faults], A' his thoughts the penny siller.
Abd. 1888  D. Grant Keckleton 111:
A' yer penny siller's either in the grun' or in yer fairm stockin' an' implements.
Fif. 1897  S. Tytler Witch-Wife x.:
It was furnished and garnished — in spite of the warriors' lack of “the penny siller” — with homely, appetising trophies.
(34) Ork. 1712  A. W. Johnston Church in Ork. (1940) 100:
Two young men found guilty of playing pennie stane on the Sabbath.
Sc. 1724  Session Papers, Crombie v. Earl of Rothes (15 June) 2:
[He] did there sit at a Window opposite to the Tolbooth-stair Foot, and within a Penny-stone Cast thereof.
Sc. 1771  T. Pennant Tour 1769 167:
Most of the antient sports of the Highlanders, such as archery, hunting, fowling and fishing, are now disused: those retained are, . . . throwing the penny-stone, which answer[s] to our coits.
Sc. 1818  Scott H. Midlothian iv.:
And sic a comfortable window as I had gotten, too, just within a penny-stane-cast of the scaffold.
Slk. 1818  Hogg B. of Bodsbeck ii.:
If outher gude fare or drogs will do it, I'll hae them playing at the penny-stane wi' Davie Tait . . . in less than twa weeks.
Sc. 1886  Stevenson Kidnapped vi.:
That's but a penny stonecast from Rankeillor's house.
(35) Rnf. 1895  J. Nicholson Kilwuddie 44:
Still his wee bit penny stipen' [The precentor] aye gat keepin' to himsel'.
(36) Lnk. 1910  W. Wingate Poems (1919) 74:
Keps, skeely pen, pencils, and white peerie-string, And hard penny-tenny, and saft creeshin'-ba'.
(37) Gsw. 1904  H. Foulis Erchie xvii.:
A poke o' fancy breid — penny things like London buns and fruit-cakes.
m.Sc. 1917  O. Douglas The Setons ii.:
The daughter of the house passed with a plate of cakes. “Since you're so pressing, I'll take a penny-thing.”
(39) Sc. 1700  Foulis Acct. Bk. (S.H.S.) 286:
To mr wm dundas to give to his servants pennie wedding . . . ¥2 18 0.
Sc. 1707  Chrons. Atholl & Tullibardine Families (1908) II. 72:
I am invited by Shirra Ramsay to the wedding of one of his servants, and it is to be a penny wedding.
Inv. 1725  Sc. N. & Q. (July 1927) 135:
They give into the hands of the Session Clerk 3 lbs. Scots, . . . as pledge that they should not have pennie weddings.
Sc. c.1730  E. Burt Letters (1815) I. 261:
They have a Penny-wedding; that is, when a Servant-Maid has served faithfully, and gained the good Will of her Master and Mistress, they invite their Relations and Friends, and there is a Dinner or Supper on the Day the Servant is married, and Musick and Dancing follow to complete the Evening. The Bride must go about the Room, and kiss every Man in the Company, and in the End every Body puts Money into a Dish.
Mry. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 IV. 86:
A penny wedding is when the expence of the marriage entertainment is not defrayed by the young couple, or their relations, but by a club among the guests. Two hundred people of both sexes will sometimes be convened on an occasion of this kind.
Slk. a.1835  Hogg Tales (1874) 284:
Here's your full cousin, Grizel Tungtakit . . . riding on her Galloway nag away to Kate Cheyne's penny-wedding.
Per. 1836  G. Penny Traditions 31:
The penny wedding, which was of frequent occurrence, and often produced a tolerably round sum for the young couple. The bridegroom provided a great quantity of eatables and drinkables, and opened the door to all and sundry. Each guest gave a shilling for his dinner, and paid for his drink, at a rate sufficient to yield more than a reasonable profit; so that, where the company was numerous, there were frequent instances of persons who married without means, realising a sum from the festivities of the wedding, sufficient to furnish a house, or give them a fair commencement in trade.
Ork. 1911  J. Omond 80 Years Ago 12:
All the invited guests contributed to the entertainment, the men supplying a bottle of whisky or wine, and the women hens, cheese, butter, oatcakes, sowan scones, etc. This was called a penny wedding.
Knr. 1925  H. Haliburton Horace 253:
Kirns an' foys an' penny-waddin's, An' back-en' midnicht masqueraddin's.
(40) Ayr. 1785  Burns Holy Fair xix.:
Be't whisky gill or penny wheep.
Sc. 1821  Blackwood's Mag. (Dec.) 671:
Twenty years back . . . the poor man was able to get desirably tipsy upon penny-whip for twopence.
Fif. 1899  Proc. Philos. Soc. Gsw. 15:
Treacle-peerie, made of sweetened water mixed with barm to produce a kind of ale, and feebler even than penny-whaup.
(43) (i) Abd. 1754  R. Forbes Jnl. 28:
A great hassick o' hair, hingin in twa-pennerts about her haffats.
Slk. 1835  Hogg Tales (1874) 707:
A neat coarsish-made girl, about thirty, her hair hanging in what Sir Walter Scott would have called elf-locks, but which old Will Laidlaw denominated pennyworths, all round her cheeks and neck.
Ayr. 1890  J. Service Notandums 73:
A taivert tawpie wi' her hair hingin' doon her back in pennyworths.
(ii) Edb. 1821  W. Liddle Poems 161:
He swore by a' that bides aboon That penny worths he wou'd hae soon.
Slk. 1824  Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) xii.:
Ye are a fause loun, and a villain and I am determined to hae pennyworths o' you, cost what it will.
Fif. 1864  W. D. Latto T. Bodkin v.:
[He] thrashed him within an inch o' his hife . . . Havin' ta'en his pennyworths o' Jock . . .
Sh. 1932  J. Saxby Trad. Lore 99, 100:
“I got me flesh pennie-wirts oot o' him,” . . . “Flesh pennie-wirts” is money earned with life blood, or exorbitant charges screwed out of toiling mortals.
wm.Sc. 1963  :
He means to get his pennysworth out of you, i.e. to take advantage of you, get all he can out of you, “bleed you white”.

5. A feast, a hearty meal, appar. an extended usage from pennyworth (see 4. (43) (ii)). Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 124:
They hid a right penny o' the mairt's inside.

II. v. intr. To fare well or profitably, to eat to advantage, to thrive; hence tr. to stuff (food) into oneself, to gorge oneself on. Cf. I. 5. Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 62:
On them [berries] she penny'd well, an' starker grew.
Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 124:
He penniet the broth an' beef intil 'im. He penniet in the biscuit an' bilet berries.

[O.Sc. pennebred, 1519, penny brydell, 1599, penny male, 1483, penny-pig, a.1646, penny stane, 1375, pennie wedding, 1672.]

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"Penny n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 Dec 2017 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/penny>

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